Whiskey in a Teacup is Reese Witherspoon's new bestselling book. This is my 2018 go-to-holiday-gift for all the awesome women in my life (and a few of the more highly evolved men). I know they will all love Reese's honesty and considerate advice. This book is beautifully photographed, thoughtfully crafted and written with enough personality that you feel like you know the author and that she's one of your girlfriends. She talks about the strong women in her history and how they shaped the mother, professional, friend and southern lifestyle champion she is today.
I was surprised and delighted to find on page 293 in her chapter on Do-Gooding, Reese talks about the importance of conquering the fear of reaching out after people die.
We are all a little uncomfortable in this situation. Most of us have no idea what to do when someone dies. We don't want to burden the bereaved with explaining the story yet again. What if they don't feel like talking? What if they are only taking calls out of obligation? We don't want to overstep or not do enough. We are often so careful that we end up doing nothing at all.
We want to be there for people, but what should we do? What should we say? How should we say it?
Reese hits the nail on the head when she says- "just make the call". Better yet, write them a letter and share memories about the person who has died. This simple act, though it may seem like an insignificant gesture to stamp and mail a note into the void surrounding a loss, can actually have an unexpectedly profound impact on the recipient. Often, the words you send are exactly the lift they need to make it through another tough day.
This simple gesture will also be cherished. I have been working with people who are grieving the loss of a loved one for over 12 years. In the calm after the storm, when the flowers die, the guests go home and the casseroles stop coming, those letters, cards and photographs often become the foundation for how their loved one will be remembered.
One way that "time heals" is that we actually begin to forget. First the little things, then the bigger things and eventually the person is remembered more by the way they made us feel than the details that made them so special. Those letters contain details that, in many ways, keep a loved one's memory alive. I know this because since I started InLovingMemoryBox.com, I have heard from countless people who have said how important written memories are and that they only cherish them more as time passes.
Whiskey in a Teacup has advice on everything from making the perfect fried chicken, to throwing the perfect Kentucky Derby party (complete with cocktails and huge hats) to decorating for Christmas and the proper way to use hot rollers.
Thank you Reese for including the act of proper condolences in your southern homage! This is information that is not talked about nearly enough, though in the end, it will benefit each and every one of us.